Coaching: Definition, Types, Process, Importance, and History

Coaching: Definition, Types, Process, Importance, and History

Coaching is a method or process, with the help of which a person aims to achieve set goals by developing their skills and improving their performance. A coach is not a teacher, but rather a facilitator who facilitates the coachee in their process of growth in order to enhance their productivity and overcome their work-related or other issues. Coaching usually includes observation by different techniques, accountability, and providing relevant feedback.

There are four different types of coaching when it comes to coaching at the workplace. The types include executive coaching, integrated coaching, team coaching, and virtual coaching. During executive coaching, the coach usually begins with an assessment of the key issues, then proceeds with making a roadmap to solve the issues and to achieve personal and professional development goals. Integrated coaching is when coaching sessions are embedded into the developmental programs of a company to make coaching an ongoing thing; rather than something that happens only once.

Team coaching is a type of workplace coaching that helps develop healthy relationships among the team members with the help of which the team members become highly productive individuals showing improved performance. Virtual coaching is becoming a highly prevalent type of coaching in the workplace through which any and every type of coaching is possible to facilitate the employees of a company.

The process of coaching includes several important things. A professional coach starts the process of coaching by setting clear objectives that they want to achieve at the end of their coaching program. Then they aim to understand the underlying issues and hindrances in the way of achieving the objectives and for this purpose they conduct an assessment. The coach then moves on by providing feedback in order to help their client overcome their problems. After providing the feedback, the coach asks the client to set some measurable goals for themselves that they want to achieve in the light of feedback given to them. Once the coach feels that the client has successfully developed the desired skills and is able to achieve the goals, they assess their client’s performance once again, measure the improvement and provide support where needed.

Coaching is important for many reasons. Coaching has been known to cultivate skills that are crucial to increase productivity and achieve goals at the workplace. It helps individuals and leaders to establish clear and measurable goals and paves the path for them to achieve those goals. It keeps employees and managers to stay motivated and helps boost their confidence. Coaching develops self-awareness in individuals and improves team collaboration as well. Coaching is a great way to have a good work-life balance and results in better mental health.

Coaching has an interesting history. The term was used as slang at Oxford University for the first time in 1830 for a tutor who carried a student through an exam. It was then transported to the world of sports by a special training instructor who helped an athletic person. The term then kept evolving and was adopted by more professions until it finally gained the meaning for which we use it today.

What Is Coaching? 

Coaching is a method or process with the help of which an individual gains the assistance they need in order to improve their performance, develop the required set of skills to succeed in their respective field, and achieve their goals. Coaching helps a person to unlock their true potential and bridges the gap between where they are currently standing and where they want to reach.

A key aspect of coaching is holding the client accountable for each of their actions, which increases self-awareness and commitment of the person being coached to their goals. It is important to keep in mind that coaching is not teaching, mentoring, or counseling; coaching is simply helping individuals to learn and develop, and focus on their present, instead of trying to fix their past or improve their future.

How Does Coaching Work? 

Coaching typically begins with an assessment that is conducted by the coach to assess the underlying issues and problems that are hindering the growth of the client. Then begins the coaching process which has 2-3 sessions a week that last 45 minutes to an hour. The number of sessions and the duration of them depends on the needs of the client that are to be addressed with the help of coaching sessions. Some coaches meet their clients once a month, once every three months, or whenever needed instead of scheduling a regular meeting.

Coaches use different resources as well to help their coachees, such as checklists and assessment sheets. Coaches are known to assign homework as well when needed. Homework is the action that coachees need to take before their next session so that the process of growth goes on. Homework is the most important thing that gets you closer to achieving your goals and with the help of it, your coach holds you accountable as well.

What Are the Types of Coaching? 

There are different types of coaching that are essentially just different approaches that the coaches use to cater to different needs of the organization or individual. Four main types of coaching at the workplace are given below.

Coaching Definition

What Is the Process of Coaching? 

The process of coaching consists of the steps that are taken by the coach in order to structure the coaching sessions and to achieve the goal for which coaching has been sought by the client in the first place. Five steps of the coaching process are given below.

1. Choosing a Subject or Problem

Choosing a problem that the client wants to resolve is the first step of the coaching process. It is simply to understand the goal the client or coachee wants to achieve with the help of coaching sessions. The coach needs to be specific and clear about the problem that needs to be resolved and the interview is the tool that enables both the coach and the coachee to gain that clarity. This step is the most important one because it helps the coach to determine what it is that the coachee needs to do differently to achieve their goals.

2. Analyzing the Concepts

Analyzing the concepts in a coaching session requires the coach to listen actively and ask questions to see the problem or the situation from multiple lenses. During this, the coach needs to ask open-ended questions and follow them up with probing in a professional manner; so that the coachee is able to reach the stage of self-discovering and finding the solution themselves. The step is crucial for rapport-building purposes and to establish a relationship between the coach and coachee that is full of trust. Analyzing the concepts is important for another reason; that is to understand the problem fully to set specific goals.

3. Removing Obstacles

Removing the obstacles is more like understanding and resolving the issues in the way of achieving the goals that the clients want to achieve with the help of coaching sessions. When you have gained clarity about the problem that needs to be resolved and have also analyzed it from multiple lenses of perspectives, it’s time to see what are those specific behaviors or circumstances that are hindering in resolving the problem. Once you have understood what the client needs to do differently to solve their problem, it’s time to help the client see the solution by probing, supporting, and offering insight. Removing obstacles is an important step because it enables both the coach and the coachee to move forward in order to reach their end goal.

4. Taking Initiative

Taking initiative is getting one step closer to achieving the goals by developing an action plan. Both the coach and coachee need to be a part of the process of developing the plan where the coachee determines the actions to be taken while the coach supervises and facilitates them during it. After the action plan has been developed, the coach gets the client to commit to specific actions in order to move forward. This step is extremely important because that is where the transformation takes place. Taking initiative and making an action plan determines whether the approach used by the coach is working or not or whether the coach needs to change their approach.

5. Enhancing and Considering

Enhancing and considering is simply to act out and achieve the predetermined goals. As the coachee works on achieving their goals, the coach supports and facilitates them in the process and schedules follow-up sessions to evaluate the progress. Celebrating success and encouraging the person being coached after achieving each goal is a sign of a great coach. Remember that as a coach, your insights are still as important for the coachee as they were at the very beginning of the coaching process, therefore, do not hesitate to provide a helping hand whenever your client seems to need it. The last step is no less important because during this, the coach and the coachee together create a vision of success and with invaluable support and facilitation provided by the coach, the client ultimately achieves it.  

Which Coaching Technique Is the Most Effective? 

There are specific coaching techniques that every coach has in their toolkit. Five of those techniques are given below.

What Are Some Real-Life Examples of Coaching? 

There are several real-life examples that show the huge transformation coaching is able to kick off. Five of those examples are given below.

What Are the Benefits of Coaching? 

Coaching is found to have a positive impact when it comes to building communication skills, self-confidence, and a good work-life balance. Six of the many benefits of coaching are given below.

What Are the Limitations of Coaching? 

Coaching has some limitations as well along with having a number of benefits. The limitations are important to know so that they are addressed and dealt with in an effective way in order to increase the likelihood of success of coaching. The limitations are given below.

  1. Coaching is an unregulated industry and therefore sometimes coaching costs a lot. So, if you are someone who is just starting out and in dire need of getting coaching services but is unable to spend a lot on it, you will have to consider other mentoring options.
  2.  Coaches are humans and so are the coachees. Sometimes, the coach and the coachee do not get along, which in turn affects the quality of the coaching service.
  3. Coaching is hard and one needs to spend a lot of time improving the skill if they want to become a good coach. Getting advice or guidance from an inexperienced coach results in more harm than good.
  4. Coaching requires a collaborative relationship where both the coach and the coachee are committed to growth and development. But sometimes, the person being coached is not ready to confront the issues and change the problematic behaviors, which results in frustration and disappointment.
  5.  It is important that both the coach and the coachee are working to achieve similar goals. But sometimes the coach is looking for something else, for example, they just want to make money or add one to their own accomplishments rather than trying to know what the client wants. This results in coaching being not as effective or not effective at all.
  6. Coaching is a time taking process. The change occurs, but it does not happen overnight. You need to be patient and keep going, in order to reap the benefits.
Coaching Definition

What Are the Facts of Coaching?

Some facts about coaching are given below. 

Coaching Definition

What Are the Myths of Coaching?

Some myths about coaching are given below. 

What Are the Principles of Coaching? 

The principles of coaching are there to define the borders and the purpose of the coaching services. Different styles of coaching are based on different principles; even though the basic principles of honesty, integrity, responsibility, and focusing on the solution remain the same. The core coaching principles are listed below:

What Are the Alternatives to Coaching?

Some people do not want to get coaching services for several reasons. Not being able to find a good coach, having been ditched by a coach previously, and not being able to afford the coach they need, are some of the reasons people tend to avoid coaching and look for alternatives. Listed below are some of the best coaching alternatives that can help you out. 

What Is the Importance of Coaching? 

Coaching is important because it empowers individuals to become the best version of themselves. Coaching is a valuable tool to set your employees up for success since it helps them to increase their knowledge and to improve their skills. The right coaching program motivates the coachee to improve. They begin to take pride in their work which results in higher job satisfaction and more productivity.

Coaching improves a person’s commitment and engagement level as well. It helps foster a culture of learning, development, and collaboration inside the organization thus having a positive effect on the environment of the organization. Coaching promotes a sense of responsibility in the coachee, which results in reflection and self-correction. It makes individuals and employees more autonomous and confident. Another purpose of coaching is to provide just-in-time learning in order to help clients deal with a particular situation.

What Is the Importance of Coaching for Entrepreneurs? 

Coaching is of key importance for entrepreneurs. It is because coaching helps them in numerous ways; such as knowing which task to prioritize and why, being aware of the gaps in your knowledge and how to fill those gaps, getting to know your weak points and how to deal with those weak points etc. Coaching gives you the confidence to take risks and to set and achieve higher goals for yourself and your business. You ultimately increase your revenue and begin to generate more profit with the help of coaching since your business coach helps you to unlock your true potential and spend more time on revenue-generating activities.

What Is the History of Coaching? 

The word coach has its roots in the English word carriage which is derived from the French word coache. The word coach began to be used in the English language in the fifteenth century and gradually along with a vehicle that carries people from one place to another, it was also used for a teacher who coached students through their examination by their guidance and suggestion.

The word coach was used in the athletic sense in the late 1800s but the idea of guiding someone with a meaningful conversation and especially tailored advice has existed as far back as ancient Greece. The word took its modern meaning at the beginning of the 1900s when with the industrial revolution, businesses grew and needed to find ways to increase their employees’ productivity. In the 1900s, the word coach also gained popularity in the sports world which turned coaching into a profession. In the business world though, coaching first began as a profession in 1970.

The man who is credited as the father of coaching for starting the profession for the first time is Thomas Leonard, a financial planner from the U.S. Of his deep dedication to the various arenas of public coaching, the idea and history of coaching owe a lot to this man.

Who Was the First Coach in History?

When it comes to coaching apart from the sports world, the man who is considered as the father of coaching and the first ever person to introduce coaching as a profession is Thomas Leonard. He founded the first-ever coach training program by the name of Coach University which later came to be known as Coach U. Along with it, Thomas Leonard founded the International Association of Coaching (IAF) and The International Coaching Federation (ICF), as well in 1994 which exist till this day and have benefitted lots of aspiring coaches.

How Does a Coach Make Money? 

Coaching is now a multi-billion dollar industry and coaches make money by several means. To make a handsome amount, coaches need to think like entrepreneurs and find as many ways as possible to generate income. Some of the ways through which coaches generate income are given below. 

How to Become a Coach? 

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot just simply become a coach without any relevant experience in the field, without an authentic certificate and proper education. Certificates are important, and so is the experience and background. To become a certified coach and earn a credential with the ICF, the following steps are mandatory:

  1. Completing the required hours of coach-specific education/training.
  2. Completing the required number of coaching hours including the appropriate number of paid hours and clients.
  3. Completing the required number of mentoring hours and recording your coaching.
  4. Submitting the application to ICF with recordings and the list of coaching clients.
  5. Taking the Coach Knowledge Assessment with ICF and earning your certificate after passing the test.

What Qualities Should You Look for in a Coach? 

There are certain qualities you need to look for before you choose a coach for yourself as the coaching industry becomes more saturated and more and more people offer their coaching services online. Those qualities are listed below:

Can Coaches Help You Grow Your Business?

Yes, coaches definitely can help you grow your business. A coach brings new ideas and introduces advanced-level strategies to bring your ideas to reality and to help you achieve your business goals. A coach makes you aware of the current trends in the market and is able to transform your business with their knowledge and experience. The ultimate result of all the things a coach does to improve your work life and business, your business grows. 

How to Find a Successful Coach? 

Getting services from a successful coach results in a palpable improvement in many areas. Development of communication skills, a boost in self-esteem and confidence level, better performance, and a healthy work-life balance are some of the impacts that are attributed to getting professional coaching services. To find a successful coach for yourself, practice the following steps:

  1. Start your search with the end in mind while you look for a successful coach for yourself. Think of the personal and professional development goals that you want to achieve with the help of these coaching services and tailor your search accordingly. Mind that your goals are not going to be exactly right from the start so do not waste your time in finding the perfect goals. Your goals are going to change several times before they take their final shape when you embark on your coaching journey.
  2. Do proper research on potential coaches in and out of your network and don’t hesitate to take recommendations. Make a list of when you have found a few potential coaches and find out how many of them offer a free introductory session. Mind that even though the education and certification of a coach are important, their passion and dedication matter a great deal too. Choose someone who has a combination of expertise, a good reputation, and healthy boundaries.
  3. Choose a coach who specializes in that specific area where you need help. If you need help with your work-related or business goals, choose a business coach, if you need to fulfill a career goal, choose a career coach, if the goal is related to your life and relationships, choose a life coach, etc.

How Much Does a Coach Cost?

Coaches cost anywhere between $75 to $300 per hour depending upon their area of expertise and their experience in the field. Life coaching costs are comparatively lower than business coaching.  Coaching rates and fees depend upon the duration of your sessions, the mode of your sessions, and the requirements of the coach as well. Another factor that impacts the cost of coaching is your location, the location of your coach, and whether you choose to be charged on an hourly basis, monthly basis, or select a package that your coach offers you.

Is It Possible to Take Online Coaching Services?

Yes, it is possible to take online coaching services. There are a number of coaches from different fields who now offer their services either by online means exclusively or by making a combination of online and in-person coaching. Both private and group coaching services can be availed online these days. 

What Is the Difference Between Coaching and Teaching? 

There are several key differences between coaching and teaching. Teaching is focused on the acquisition of knowledge and skills, while coaching is aimed at refining existing knowledge and skills and putting them to use in the best way. In teaching, the teacher is solely responsible for the development of skills while in coaching both parties actively take part in the process of development.

Teaching takes place in a more formal environment and is planned almost fully, while coaching takes place on a spontaneous basis and is more reactionary and less planned. A teacher is considered a more knowledgeable person than the people they are teaching, while the coach does not have to be the expert in any particular knowledge or skill. All they need to know is how to coach in a way that benefits the coachee.

What Is the Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring? 

Quite contrary to popular belief, coaching, and mentoring are not the same. The coaching relationship goes on for six months to a year at maximum, while mentoring lasts for a year or two, or sometimes goes on for a period of several years. Coaching is usually more structured, with meetings taking place on a regular basis, while mentoring tends to be less structured and more informal.

Coaching takes place through questions asked by the coach. The more questions a coach asks, the better understanding they develop about the coachee and the areas where they need help. In mentoring, the mentee is supposed to ask more questions while they seek guidance from the mentor. Coaching is focused on getting specific, measurable outcomes while mentoring is more about the holistic development of the mentee instead of achieving some specific goal.

What Is the Difference Between Coaching and Counseling? 

Coaching and counseling have many differences among them. Counseling is more focused on healing from past traumas, and resolving the issues caused by emotional pain, while coaching is aimed at dealing with the issues you have in your present and future. Counseling has its foundation in medicine and psychology, while coaching has its roots in the area of personal and professional development.

In counseling, the development is usually measured by how the client feels now vs. before, and change is identified on an internal basis rather than externally. Coaching goals on the other hand are more focused on the external world, solving external issues, and changing behavior. A counselor provides the client with guidelines and advice to provide them a path to healing, while the coach is more like a thinking partner who helps clients to identify their challenges and to discover ways to overcome them.

Alexis Fedor

Founder & CEO

Alexis Fedor

Founder & CEO

Alexis Fedor is an award winning performance artist and writer from New York City. She is the founder of Artists In Business, a company focused on helping artists create online businesses with their art through online courses and group coaching. Alexis is the creator of the renowned Profit Canvas Mentorship, which has helped hundreds of artists create profitable businesses with their art, and the AIB Jumpstart, a membership experience designed to help artists get their businesses prepped for profitability. Alexis lives in New York City among many friends, family, and two cats.